ISM PERFORMANCE SADDLES

Shaun George BOTS Guides

We’ve just got our hands on the latest and greatest ISM Performance Saddles. ISM happens to be the current market leader in saddle innovation and technology – they’re also now available at bumsonthesaddle.com.

THE ISM STORY

ISM (INNOVATIVE SADDLEMAKER) is the brainchild of Steve Toll, an avid cyclist and swimmer living in Tampa, Florida. Following yet another painful bike ride with his wife, Laura, Steve decided to eliminate or at least subdue the pain by sketching out a new design for a bicycle seat that would help riders better their experience on a traditional bike saddle.

In 1999 Tolls’ concept finally got patented. The patent at the time marked a significant milestone for an industry that hadn’t seen saddle innovation since its invention.

Over the years, ISM seats have helped athletes secure Ironman wins, Olympic medals and countless other victories. Pros and amateurs alike are finding riding and competing enjoyable again due to such innovations that make riding more comfortable.

What separates ISM Saddles from the rest?

ISM Saddles are designed keeping in mind superior rider comfort, health, and efficiency. ISM Saddles are drastically different than traditional saddle designs, for instance, all their models do not have noses. Instead, they have incorporated two arms at the front that rest parts of your pelvis. Due to this, your ISM Saddle should ideally be around 5-10 mm lower than a traditional saddle to maintain the same rider height.

ISM’s patented shape and design has eliminated the nose area of the saddle. As a result, the front arms of your ISM saddle must be placed significantly further back than the nose of a traditional saddle – around 2-3 inches.

ISM saddles are designed to ensure optimal rider comfort, which is why their patented design allows for 100% blood flow in the pelvic region at all times. The pressures are not concentrated on your soft tissue instead, they are transmitted to the sit bones where there is no chance of soft tissue damage.

TECHNOLOGY

Using industry-leading equipment, ISM performs rigorous testing of blood gas levels while cycling. The chart below compares several ISM models with three traditional competitors’ saddles.

credit-ism saddles

As you can see, all ISM saddles measure at least 100% blood flow, which is the baseline number for a rider on a bike. As the rider begins to exercise, blood pressure and pulse rise, causing blood flow to exceed the 100% baseline. The competitors’ traditional saddles in this test are all performing significantly below the ISM standard.

CATEGORIES OF ISM SADDLES

The ISM Performance series of saddles is aimed at competitive riders who are looking to extract every bit of power and efficiency from their bikes. Whilst being able to do this they are also extremely comfortable and prevent soft tissue damage.

ISM also has a Comfort series of saddles that are for those riders who spend long periods of time on their bikes, be it commuting or touring. Comfort is the primary goal here.

The Comfort series saddles are currently not available in India.

PERFORMANCE NARROW

Performance Narrow is the latest series of Performance saddles launched by ISM. It has been designed with maximum thigh and hamstring clearance in mind. It works best for very aggressive riding positions, ie riding in the aero position. This places most of the weight on the riders pubic rami (the frontal portion of the hip) and very little support is needed at the seat bones (rear portion of the hip). 

PERFORMANCE LONG

The Performance Long Saddles have distinctly long 275mm chassis and a generous 135mm rear section that allows for superb Fore-Aft movement. This saddle is ideal for you if you tend to move rearward, like most riders to tackle a climb or If you move forward on the saddle to accelerate the bike on flats, and then resume the original position.

PERFORMANCE SHORT

 The Performance Short series are the root of ISM and have been around for about 15 years. This line up features a short nose and is preferred by cyclists who tend to lock themselves down in one position on the saddle, it does allow for some minor movements in riding posture. A hump in the rear portion of the saddle ensures optimal hip rotation and power transfer, also improving muscle engagement, which explains its success and popularity amongst the elite.

PERFORMANCE RECREATION

The Performance Recreation series must not be confused with ISM’s comfort series line up. 

The Performance Recreation saddles feature a wider width, ranging from 140-145mm, and the greatest amount of padding out of all the performance saddles, making it perfect for riders in a slightly more relaxed, upright position. Most of the rider’s weight is placed on the seat bones. Still being a noseless saddle, it can accommodate the rider comfortably in an aero position with drop bars.

ISM SADDLE PADDING GUIDE

SUMMARY

ISM saddles are built to last and are a great alternative to your stock saddles. Research conducted has proven the need and benefits of ISM’s designs. It’s important for both men and women to preserve genital blood flow, nerve function, and reduce as much pressure as possible away from soft tissue areas.

ISM saddles are grouped into different categories, each appropriate for different situations and riders. For each saddle shape, there are several options for padding to suit the requirements of any rider.

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